First class flights for forces boss
The outgoing head of the Armed Forces Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup took almost £60,000 worth of first class flights in less than a year, it has been reported.
Sir Jock, who will step down as Chief of Defence Staff in Autumn rather than next April as previously planned, took 20 first class flights in 10 months, costing £53,440.70, figures obtained by The Sun using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests revealed.
Thirteen of his remaining 33 trips on commercial airlines between April 2009 and February this year were in business class at a cost of £6,843.60, according to the data.
A Ministry of Defence whistleblower told the paper the former RAF pilot rejected cheaper alternatives in order to fly with British Airways on 28 of the 33 journeys.
New MoD guidelines state that staff must use the cheapest means of travel, but the paper claims Air Chief Marshal Stirrup took two further first class flights after the new rules were introduced in November.
An MoD spokesman said the Chief of Defence Staff had "significantly reduced" his travel expenditure since the rule change last year.
He said: "The CDS frequently travels to visit our Armed Forces deployed worldwide and to meet overseas Government and military leaders as an essential part of his professional duties. The long distance nature of many of the journeys he takes require him to travel at a standard that allows him to work en route and to continue working immediately on arrival.
"To contribute to the departmental cost saving regime, the CDS, along with all other senior staff in the department, has significantly reduced and condensed his travel arrangements since the new guidelines were introduced in November 2009. The airline and class of travel used are dictated by his demanding schedule."
Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced Sir Jock's early departure at the weekend, denying he had been sacked.
He had been due to carry on until spring of next year.